Archive for Babe Ruth

Did Babe Ruth really call his shot? The answer might be in the cards.

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

1933 Goudey Babe Ruth rookie card

For about as long as I can remember, there has been a story of Babe Ruth calling his shot during Game 3 of the 1932 World Series.

We’ve all seen the questionable grainy black and white footage, game film that has been debated for years.

Some say Ruth was merely pointing to the Cubs bench after jawing with opposing players, while the legend has it that he actually called his shot — he predicted hitting a home run. (Wikipedia entry)

I believe reporters actually asked Ruth about this some 79 years ago, and even then the answer was not a simple yes or no.  Ruth pussy footed around the giving something vague.  And then in the video shown below we hear Ruth stating that he did indeed call his shot, a statement that even those in and around the game at the time were not completely sold on.

But I ask this:  If Babe Ruth has called his shot during the World Series of 1932, don’t you think Goudey would have depicted Ruth doing such on one of his FOUR 1933 Goudey “rookie” cards?

The one shown above, from my personal collection, is the closest that any of his rookie cards gets to conveying this tale … and clearly it’s just a basic follow through pose.

Three Collecting Goals for 2012

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

There's someone missing from this stash ...

Right about this time each year I start thinking of things I want to accomplish in the new year.  And each year I start to make a list, but I rarely actually document the thoughts.

Maybe it’s fear of failure; maybe it’s sheer laziness on my part to make time to type them out and share them with you.


This time it’s different.  I’ll keep things simple.  Here are the three hobby-related things I want to accomplish in 2012.

3) Write more

When I started this blog three years ago I was passionate about writing.  Hell, I wrote for a living, so all I had to do was switch topics for a few minutes a day and write something, anything.

But much has changed.  I have two kids now, and work in a different field unrelated to writing.

In 2012, I want to write (at least) 50 posts. That works out to about one post every week or so.  I’d love to say I want to write 365 posts a year or even 180, but fact is that’s just not going to happen.  I love to write and entertain you, but fact is I am not that interesting and what I have it say is not that important.

2) Trim the fat

That’s code for get rid of crap I really don’t care about.

I’ve already started this process this year by sending more than 1,500 cards to But I still have a dozen three-row “shoe boxes” sitting in my closet and only three or four of them contain items I’d say I really care about.  If I can make the time, I can make a huge dent in the volume of stuff and maybe turn into something really nice like …

1) Obtain a Babe Ruth rookie card

In 2012, I will get my hands on one of the three 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth cards.  Yeah, I said it.  Ruth is the sole legend of Yankee Mount Rushmore whose rookie card has eluded me.

Mickey Mantle?

Got Heeeeeeeeeem

Lou Gehrig?

Got Heeeeeeeeeem

Joe DiMaggio?

Got Heeeeeeeeeem

But I need the Ruth!

R-U-T-H, Ruth!

Ruth had been playing baseball long before 1933, but his Goudey cards — as well as the Sport Kings cards — from that year are considered his “official” rookie cards.  And while my rookie card collection has many caveats that I have created for the sole purpose of fulfilling my cardboard destiny, the Ruth cards from 1933 are among the most iconic and I MUST own one by the end of 2012.

Baseball Hall of Famers: Class of 1936

Posted in Hall of Famers with tags , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Got an idea I’m unveiling here. As I move into a new era of card collecting, I’m going to showcase my cards from another era simply by grouping them by the year the depicted player was inducted into the Hall of Fame. We start at the beginning: 1936



1909-1911 T206 Piedmont Ty Cobb Red Background



1933 Goudey Babe Ruth



1909-1911 T206 Sweet Caporal Dark Cap Christy Mathewson



1909-1911 T206 Polar Bear Walter Johnson



Baseball Greats post card Honus Wagner -- circa 1960s

Updated 2/26/12

The coolest auction you probably missed all weekend

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on March 15, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

It’s been a few years since game-used cards featuring slivers of bats have been relevant. Hell, there used to be a time you could sell a bat card of Juan Gonzalez for $20-$30. But when the craze started there were a slew of awesome cards produced including this 1999 Upper Deck 500 Home Run Club card featuring bat pieces from Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

This limited edition card was sold this week in an auction you probably didn’t even get a chance to see.  The auction was red hot, yet only was viewed about 380 times by the time it ended about 10 p.m. Pacific on Friday night. Want to guess where the bidding ended? Just the price of a used car — $5,400. The bidding jumped $2,000 in the last 10 seconds.

What’s interesting to note here is the certificate on the back of the card. It says the bats are game-used, but mentions they were obtained by a third-party. Nothing inherently suspicious about the certificate, but it’s only worth noting due to the issues that we’ve seen in recent years with Upper Deck.

2010 Topps Heritage Break and Review

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on February 25, 2010 by Cardboard Icons


Damnit. Damnit. Damnit.

Every February I say these very words to myself because Topps really knows what they are doing. Just when baseball fans are craving the sport the most, the New York company releases its second product of the year, Topps Heritage, and sends the market into a frenzy. The set is always enticing to card collectors. Whether your fishing for a big hit, or trying to build a set, this product offers a little something for everyone.

This year’s design mimics the 1961 Topps set, a design that some collectors have said is bland. Personally, I am a fan. The design is clean and linear, and the different color boxes for the player and team names add a little something to the card, but not too much. The card backs are also great as they offer a wealth of information and a cartoon. Also, the subset cards within the set look great; love the manager, team and league leader cards.

The hobby version of the product hit many store shelves on Wednesday with the typical $4 per pack price point; retail versions will likely start hitting WalMart and Target stores in about 10 to 14 days, but I would not be surprised if a Blaster was found sometime this weekend at either big-box store.

I tried something different this year, something more in-line with my new philosophy on cards. I’ve decided NOT to buy a hobby box, rather just purchase a few packs to satisfy my appetite and curiosity. Also, I feel that not every collector out there can afford to buy a box and will be picking packs from an already-opened box. So one could argue that this is a legitimate break and review … for the basic collector.

Anyhow, the purchase was seven hobby packs and the pulls included two short prints, three chrome parallels, three Babe Ruth Chase inserts, a New Age Performer, a Flash Back and two Then and Now inserts. Not so bad.

The basic shortprints are easy to distinguish from the more common cards. Not only are they the last 60 to 75 cards in the 500-card set, but they are also printed with white backs, whereas the commons all feature brownish backs. My SPs were Carlos Lee and Raul Ibanez “Topps News”. What remains to be seen is whether or not (we all know they did) create super shorprints where they tinkered with something, perhaps a interchanged logo, wrong player picture or something.

On a possibly related note, I spotted a few “oddities” on a few of my base cards.

1) This American League Leader Wins (#48) card is missing the Topps Heritage logo.

2) Mark DeRosa and Akinori Iwamura are pictured (airbrushed) with their NEW teams, the Giants and Pirates.

3) Pablo Sandoval is picture with braces on his teeth.

4) The Checklist card No. 273 actually has the word “checklist” written as two words on the face of the card, but as one on the actual checklist.

As for inserts, it looks like Topps is going to murder Babe Ruth’s cardboard reputation with these horrible Chase ’61 cards. While I understand the premise of the set, I think Topps missed an opportunity here to really flesh out this 1961 Home Run chase.

By now you are already aware that Roger Maris slugged a record-breaking 61 homers to eclipse the 60 homers Ruth hit in 1927. During the record-setting year of 1961, Maris and Mantle went back and forth. What would have been more interesting to me is to have cards featuring Maris and Mantle, and Ruth. Maybe take the concept and do a running tally sort of set, not unlike the Home Run Record cards Topps has put out over the years.

Instead, what Topps has given us is a 15-card set featuring pictures of Ruth with a bunch of text on the back discussing Ruth’s record-setting feat and some Maris and Mantle chatter. And to make matters worse, it appears that the same cartoon and caption is used on ALL of the Ruth Chase cards. This insert set is a nightmare, and set collectors will be crying foul — if they have not begun already — because these lame inserts are taking the place of another base card, common, SP or otherwise.

The Chrome parallels are pretty uneventful, although the finish of the cards seems exceptionally slick which is a plus. In past issues, I’ve had issues with my chrome parallels being a bit “pitted,” for lack of a better term. The cards are seeded one in every five packs; I got three of them: Chipper Jones, Johan Santana and Kendry Morales. These cards are serial numbered to 1,961 copies.And other Topps Heritage insert anchors New Age Performers (Albert Pujols), Flashbacks (Candlestick Park), and Then & Now (see below) have returned and are just as they have been in past years. In fact, they look damn-near identical, with just a few tweaks. Go figure.

I do take issue with the two Then & Now inserts I pulled. BOTH cards feature Whitey Ford; one has him paired with 2009 MLB strikeout leader Justin Verlander, and the other has him with 2009 MLB ERA leader Zack Greinke. My beef? Whitey Ford didn’t lead the league in either category in 1961. He was third in strikeouts, behind Sandy Koufax — who had 269, exactly as many as Verlander — and Camilo Pascual. And Ford finished 14th in ERA behind a bunch of other guys. In fact, Ford’s ERA (3.21) was more than an entire run higher than Greinke’s (2.16).

There are a slew of other types of inserts, including autographs and relics — which fall one per box — that I didn’t pull from my packs, but the sample size was rather small. From what I’ve seen though, the cards are what they are with few exceptions.

Overall, Topps Heritage appears to be as we always expect it to be — an ginormous money pit that will give us much satisfaction in the short term, and cause heartache for many more as they try to build the set. To build the master set is a spectacular feat.

So is the product worth buying? Of course. There are some awesome on-card autographs, some easily obtainable relics and a shot at a multi-relic and autos featuring Ruth, Mantle and Maris.

But know what you’re getting into  as it pertains to building the set. You will not even come close to completing the run with one box, or for that matter, a complete case. If you’re looking to build the set, know that retail packs may be a better option given the fixed, cheaper prices and similar odds for shortprints.

*Addendum: I’ve written a review of the Topps Heritage bubble gum, you can see it HERE.

Finally, 2008 Ginter ‘Baseball Icons’ completed!

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on February 16, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Jimmie was a sly Foxx.

I have finally obtained the final piece of this 17-card set, completing a task that I set out to conclude nearly 18 months ago. The set is by no means super scarce. The cards are readily attainable by going to eBay and plunking them one by one, or in lots, but my willingness to do so has waned over the months. I wanted not to spend another dime on Allen and Ginter products, rather to trade what I had for what I needed. In the end I sucked it up and spent the final $3.50 (included shipping) to purchase Mr. Jimme Foxx, the final card needed for the set.

So it is without further adieu I present the complete 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter’s “Baseball Icons” set.

Oh, Jimmie Foxx, where art thou?

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on January 11, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

I am so close, I can taste it. When 2008 Allen & Ginter’s baseball hit the market nearly two years ago, there was one insert set I absolutely geeked over — the Baseball Icons inserts. These mini inserts exemplify all that is good about the hobby. No foilboard, serial numbering or flashy design. Just an old-school look and feel featuring the founding fathers of the game and hobby. But, here we are some 22 months after their release and I am missing one card: Jimmie Foxx, BI12. I don’t resort to begging often, but please tell me you have my Jimmie Foxx?